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Brock at home with new role at Sarah's House
Sherie Brock of Sarah’s House.
1/18/2013 6:01:00 AM
By Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa
KINGMAN - After more than 20 years in law enforcement, former police officer Sharie Brock feels like she finally has a chance to prevent child abuse instead of just responding to it.
Brock is the new Speak Up, Be Safe facilitator for Sarah's House.
Sarah's House is a family-friendly place where victims of sexual and physical abuse can be examined without having to sit in a cold hospital exam room or be interviewed in a stark office.
Brock teaches the Good Touch, Bad Touch child abuse prevention program to local kindergarten students and recently added the new Speak Up, Be Safe program to her curriculum.
"Speak Up, Be Safe is a new program for kids in first through sixth grades. I started teaching it in Kingman schools back in August," Brock said. "It expands on the lessons from the Good Touch, Bad Touch program."
Good Touch, Bad Touch teaches younger kids that they are in control of their bodies, that no one has the right to touch them inappropriately, and how to protect themselves, Brock said.
Both programs were created by Childhelp, a Scottsdale-based child abuse prevention and treatment organization.
"Speak Up, Be Safe takes things a bit farther. It not only teaches kids about sexual and physical abuse but also about cyber bullying and neglect. It teaches them to both protect themselves and report the abuse to a safe adult," she said. "It puts the onus on the adult to do something instead of just teaching the child to protect themselves. It gives them strategies for dealing with a situation."
The free program is Internet-based, which makes it easily portable. It's split up over two days with sessions lasting from 30 minutes for the younger crowd to around 50 minutes for the sixth-graders, Brock said. Permission slips are distributed to parents about one to two weeks before the class starts so that any parents who feel the class is inappropriate can remove their child. Brock even welcomes parents to come and sit in on her classes with the kids.
"I've had several parents take me up on that," she said.
Each child learns what abuse is and the different types of abuse. They are given five safety rules to protect themselves - It's my body, ask an adult if I am safe, I have choices, tell someone and it's never my fault. As the child moves through each grade level of the program, more detail is added to the basic rules.
The kids are also taught how to identify a safe adult to speak to and are asked to specifically ask someone they know to be their "safety adult." That adult doesn't have to be a parent or a family member, Brock said. It can be anyone the child feels safe with.
The program is specifically tailored to be age-appropriate, but even Brock was taken aback by some of the material.
"We start teaching the kids about sexual abuse and pornography in third grade," she said. "When I first saw the material, I thought, 'There's no way these kids are going to know about this.' But you would be surprised. Times have really changed from when we grew up. These kids are very well educated. They know what pornography is and can point it out to you."
"Some just don't realize that it's a bad thing. They've grown up in an abusive situation and they don't know any different. They don't know its not right," Brock said. "It's actually a shock to them to learn that it's wrong."
Brock said she's already had a few children come to her to report abusive situations.
"Because of confidentiality I can't tell you how many or who they are, but we are getting them help," she said.
The kids also learn about bullying, especially cyber bullying, sexting and Internet predators and what to do in response, Brock said.
The program has been very well received by the schools, teachers and parents, she said. Speak Up, Be Safe is also available free to other youth organizations. The cost of the program is footed by Sarah's House.
For more information on the program, contact Brock at (928) 757-8103.
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